On Tuesday, December 27th a “Charlie Brown-esque” community skating party was held at the Tot Lot in Hayward, WI. The goal of the event was to get people together to enjoy a night of skating, conversation, and to truly embrace the beauty of small town life around the holidays. With an estimated over 100+ people in attendance throughout the evening, it’s fair to say that old fashioned events are still in style.
The Northern Nerd collaborated with community minded businesses like Selah Mobile Coffee, Wisconsin Sauna, Up North Stays & Northwoods Sauna Company and free drinks throughout the evening were sponsored by Element Church. Partnering with these people/businesses was a no brainer. They were eager to come together to help make this event a possibility and success. Throughout the evening they were all looking for ways to help out and I couldn’t have asked for better people to help with this event. I’d also like to thank the City of Hayward and the Hayward City Council for helping make this event a possibility.
This is not the first time the Tot Lot has been used for a community skating party. Throughout the evening, many people that brought their kids to skate shared stories of themselves learning to skate at the Tot Lot. Many discussed that they would come down with their siblings after school or on weekends and lace up their skates while their backside was planted in a snowbank. I hope many years down the road, some of the children that were in attendance go on to say something similar.
I’d like to share a few comments from community members that I received on The Northern Nerd Facebook page. “We had a blast. Thank you so much,” commented Luke Stone. “Very Hallmark-ish. Love it!” said Mary Kate Poppe. Melissa Jordan added, “our family LOVED the community skate party!” The only thing that would have made this event more magical was if it softly began to snow, but then we’d truly be living in a Christmas movie.
Hayward is such a special town to me and community events like the skating party help foster a deeper level of appreciation and love for this place. Without community events, we just have weather, work and sports to discuss while in line at the grocery store. (I suppose you could throw in politics too, but remember when you didn’t know everyone’s political affiliation? Those were the days.) It’s through shared experiences that community is felt. It’s what makes small towns like Hayward different from big cities because you don’t feel like just another number. You can connect with your neighbors while warming your hands around a fire pit or while passing a puck around on the ice. The simplicity of it all is refreshing.
I look forward to hosting other community events in the future whether it’s another skating party, a pumpkin smashing event like we’ve done in the past or other events that are brought to life. Whatever the event, I know that this community will continue to thrive because of its heart and passion for coming together. In times of celebration or in times of grief, small towns press forward because of their willingness to rally with their neighbors. I’ll be seeing you around town, but until then, take care and be kind to one another.
- Dalton Hessel